Delaying the setting of new air quality targets until next year could cost lives, according to the chief executive of the British Safety Council.
Mike Robinson, chief executive of the British Safety Council, was commenting on the government’s statement in the House of Commons debate on the environment bill this week, when ministers stated that new targets on air quality would not be set until October next year.
Robinson said: “While we understand that the government wants to consult and it’s right we consider the impacts, a year’s delay in setting new air quality targets is not acceptable, especially for the thousands of people whose work means they don’t get to choose the air they breathe every day. Every year, up to 40,000 people in the UK die from exposure to outdoor air pollution, including people who deliver our post, collect our rubbish or help our children cross the road.”
In a separate development, MPs voted yesterday to reject a Lords’ amendment to the environment bill that would have meant the UK meets new lower World Health Organization (WHO) limits for small particulates.
Responding to this, Mike Robinson said: “At a time when the world’s eyes are on the UK and the example it’s setting on climate change and the environment, it is disappointing to see our politicians strike down measures that would save lives and protect people by cutting air pollution.”